January 21, 2014

What’s up with that?! A gazillion embedded gold threads in somebody’s knees, and a media beat-up.

Posted in brisbane, health tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:35 pm by Margi Macdonald

Recently, an X-Ray image has done the rounds of the interwebs.

It first surfaced here and has been widely discussed by biomedical doctors, doctors of acupuncture, and the tabloid media.

Do well-educated, AHPRA-Registered Acupuncturists practicing in Australia routinely treat osteoarthritis like this?

No. And it’s an assumption to think that we do.

You can read official responses here and here.

Now, let’s go back to the original article, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, where the authors conclude

Acupuncture is widely used as a treatment for painful joints. It has been hypothesized that gold thread implanted at the acupuncture points acts as a continuous acupuncture stimulation. The insertion of small pieces of sterile gold thread around the joint by means of acupuncture needles has been used commonly in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in Asian countries. Gold threads may complicate radiographic assessment, as seen here.

You have to wonder what all the fuss was about.

My view, based on clinical practice and literature reviews?

“Ordinary” acupuncture provided by appropriately qualified practitioners may be a useful adjunctive therapy for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee.

We need comprehensive research to understand potential benefits and side effects of embedded gold threads.
Cautions and Care: If you have a concern about your health, please see an appropriately qualified, experienced and registered health professional. Please continue to take any medications prescribed by your medical doctors.


September 6, 2010

Bears in there? We’re Wildlife Aware

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:17 pm by Margi Macdonald

Brown Bear having fun. Beverly and Pack

From the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd

You may have seen last night’s Channel 7 Sunday Night feature on “Something About Mary” which informed viewers of Mary Hutton’s story. Mary is the founder of the ‘Free the Bears Fund Inc’ (www.freethebears.org.au) and has made it her mission to protect various species of bears in Asia from being captivated and used for entertainment and medicinal purposes. The use of bear bile was a focus in the feature with reporter Alex Cullen bringing attention to the practices of some restaurants in South East Asia whose patrons “have lunch, see bears and buy their bile”.

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) is opposed to the medical, cosmetic or other use of bear bile and other illegal products derived from endangered species. There are many herbal alternatives to the use of bear bile and therefore there is no justification for bear farming. AACMA is committed to raising the level of awareness, education and compliance with the legal requirements associated with the international wildlife trade through the Australian government funded Endangered Species Certification Scheme (www.acupuncture.org.au/escs.cfm) and does not support the use of Chinese medicines containing illegally traded wildlife ingredients.

AACMA CEO, Judy James, said “Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the great global medical systems with an uninterrupted history of use and development spanning 1000s of years. The Traditional Chinese Medicine profession does not need to cage, farm, kill or use bears in order to provide effective and natural healthcare. The international trade in products containing bear parts is illegal and AACMA opposes their use for any medical or cosmetic purposes.”

To read the AACMA’s full media release please visit http://www.acupuncture.org.au/media.cfm

To view the transcript visit http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunday-night/transcripts/article/-/article/7284436/something-about-mary-transcript/

To view the video visit http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunday-night/video/#fop

A member of this Association, I fully support and conform to AACMA’s ethical standards and codes of professional conduct, and similarly oppose the use of illegal products – in particular animal products – in our medicines.

Only herbal medicines are prescribed in my practice.


Image: by Beverly and Pack on Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

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